The Mood & Mind Centre
|Posted on 26 January, 2023 at 4:25|
Written by Mirinda Smith (January 2023)
New Year Intention - Mindfulness: What it is & what it is not
The New Year can be a beautiful time to reflect upon the year that was and ask yourself what you want to create more of in the year to come. I’m personally a fan of new year's intentions rather than resolutions. An intention has the space for flexibility and is rooted in the sentiment of growth and evolution rather than changing and fixing (which can kind of be a subtle micro aggression against yourself and we don’t need that )! I know a lot of people often have the intention to bring more mindfulness and presence into their lives, so here is a little insight into what that actually means.
Mindfulness is consistently gaining more and more popularity and has kind of become a bit of a buzz word…but what is it actually all about?
The Western psychological perspective from Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as, “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally…in the service of self-understanding and wisdom”.
Similarly, the Eastern philosophical perspective of mindfulness can be summed up in one of my favourite passages from The Radiance Sutras:
“Watch for a moment in which two opposing perceptions occur, wanting to go and not going, knowing and simultaneously not knowing.
In the midst of this dilemma, let go of both perceptions and jump into the interval between.
Reality flashes forth, your being is the shining field of awareness, the continuum in which the opposite play”.
Essentially, mindfulness is a practice that stems from meditation. It can support us to create space within ourselves by learning to simply notice what is in a given moment, without the need to react or judge it as one way or another. It is the ability to be aware of the opposing perceptions, the dualities, the good and the bad, and accept them in the moment with equanimity…there is plenty of time to make interpretations later on
However, mindfulness is not about developing this blissful state in which our mind is completely clear of thoughts! It’s called a practice for a reason…because let’s be honest we never truly master it, we are all human beings living in a very beautifully flawed human world and as long as we are living, our minds will be thinking.
It’s also not just about sitting still in meditation for hours on end. The beauty of modern mindfulness is that you can apply it to suit your own unique needs; that could mean going for a walk and truly being present noticing your surroundings, it could be having a shower and paying attention to the water cascading down your body, it could be sitting drinking your morning tea or coffee savouring each sip, or as simple as closing your eyes and taking 5 deep belly breaths.
So, take a moment and ask yourself how can you embody your intention of mindfulness and bring it into your life each day?